What makes a good story great?
The story itself can have all the elements of a good story (see Chip and Dan Heath’s Make to Stick), including:
- Simple Message: The concept or message needs to be clear and easy to understand
- Real Experience: It has to be believable and perceived as being true
- Element of Surprise: An unexpected twist, event or outcome generates interest and tension
- Evokes Emotion: The best stories are those that generate an emotional response
- Relevant: Good stories relate directly to the subject or key point
That’s a terrific starting point. However, the way the story is told can have enormous impact on its reception and retention.
When we taste food, we typically assess the four taste senses of salt, sweet, sour, and bitter – but the fifth sense, umami, provides us with a richer experience often described as savory, complex, “yum” or “om nom nom”…!
In storytelling, the same principle applies and can make the difference between “adequate” and “exceptional”.
Storytelling umami elements can include delivery pitch, tone, speed, dynamics, pauses and other timing factors, your facial expressions, and your posture, gestures and other movements. Simply raising an eyebrow can have surprising impact, for example.
Consider adding a dash of storytelling umami and make your stories truly delicious!